Mary Love

Then & Now

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Mary Love's only career retrospective mixes ten of her mid-'60s Modern sides with 11 more contemporary recordings from the 1980s and 1990s. This is poor strategy; it's the '60s sides that almost everyone wants to hear. The '65-67 tracks are fair commercial period soul that will probably excite only those who want to build an extremely thorough soul collection; an obscure, stately Ashford-Simpson ballad, "Baby I'll Come," is the standout. The more recent numbers are generic urban contemporary dance tunes with Christian message lyrics that border on the pushy, as heartfelt as they may be. What's worse is that the old material is alternated with the new, rather than sequenced chronologically, a decision that will probably annoy even those who want to hear everything. The new material desperately wants you to praise the Almighty; you will, however, end up thanking God not for eternal life, but for programmable CD players.

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